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20121208
20121208
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recovering from devastation caused by superstorm sandy. >> i think the most likely explanation here is sandy's impact was significant but was so short-lived that it didn't extend to the sample period of the employment report which was the week that covered november 12. >> reporter: hiring was also supposed to be weak due to worries about the fiscal cliff. with $600 billion in automatic tax hikes and government spending cuts set to start next year, why aren't more firms postponing hiring decisions? >> what we're hearing from businesses is that it is really hard to actually pull back hiring right now, because they've already fired so many workers, gotten so lean that it's really difficult. >> reporter: but not all the surprises in the report were good. at 7.7%, the unemployment rate hit its lowest level since december 2008. but that was mostly due to people giving up their search for work. and there's another disappointing trend, weak wage growth. >> what we are not seeing is strong income generation. the slowing in wage gains-- the weak bargaining power of labor comes across in this report an
than expected in the wake of hurricane sandy and fiscal cliff anxiety. >> so it looks like sandy will not affect the numbers even after revisions. >> reporter: georgetown's harry holzer, former chief economist for the labor department. >> in terms of the fiscal cliff, so far we are not seeing any big impact. >> reporter: not even an impact on retail which, for all the talk of online supplanting bricks-and-mortar buying, added 53,000 jobs last month-- much of it holiday hiring, no doubt-- but a healthy 140,000 overall increase in the past three months. not all the new numbers were festive, however. construction shed 20,000 jobs, though perhaps influenced by sandy. manufacturing dropped 7,000. grinchier still, job growth in september and october was revised down by 49,000 jobs. and for all the talk of a lower unemployment rate, its explanation seemed to be that several hundred thousand more americans stopped looking for work in november and were counted out of the labor force. again, economist holtzer. >> this month's change was driven completely by the fact some people stopped loo
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